Okay, so you're the mysterious Curse.

Your first question is probably, "what exactly am I?"

Answer: the Curse is the influenza virus.

Although today people are often dismissive of "the flu,"
they shouldn't be. It's a very successful virus.
And back in 1918-19, one strain of influenza,
the "Spanish Flu," killed 40 million people around the world.
It was so terrible, it even killed young, healthy people
in a matter of days.

And your job is to make South Spratly Island a fertile
breeding ground for flu!

Infect as many populations (human and animal) each year as you can.
Count how many populations you infect as you go along!
(Also count how many you miss.)

What do you do?
Influenza strains hang out in wildlife reservoirs
and in the global human population.
First, you need to plot the transmission corridors
that you'll need to spread yourself as far as you can.
Then you need to see if you can "drift" or "shift"
your strains so you can infect yet more populations!

Each year, you start with three flu strains, each in its own "reservoir":

The Swine Flu exists in Boars and the Boar habitat.
Avian Flu exists in Wild Ducks and the Wild Duck habitat.
Human flu exists in Tourists. If tourists come to the Hotel, then so does the Human flu.

You want to get each strain out of its reservoir and spread it into as many populations as possible. (Each group of humans or animals in a village represents a "population.") If a strain "shifts," it's even possible for you to jump the interspecies barrier and have the Swine flu infect humans, for example.

You need to make a mini-version of the map on your worksheet, showing just these things: the Populations in each village (Populations include humans plus any domestic animals they are raising: pigs, ducks, chickens); the Hotel (which has only a Human population, no animals); and the Avian (Wild Duck) and Swine (Boar) flu reservoirs. You can also show the paths that connect these places as dotted lines.



You need to keep track of each "corridor of transmission" for your strains.
The villages and hotel will make these corridors with their hunting, trading and working activities. Each corridor is a different type, based on its creature: human, avian (ducks/chickens), or swine (pigs/boar). Corridors go along human footpaths, through other villages ( touching the populations in them) if necessary.

If a Village sends Workers to the Hotel, then draw a Human corridor
between the Village and the Hotel.

If a Village trades with another Village, then draw a Human corridor
between those two Villages.

If a Village gets Wild Ducks when hunting, then draw an Avian corridor
between the Wild Avian reservoir and the Village.

If a Village gets Boar when hunting, then draw a Swine corridor
between the Wild Swine reservoir and the Village.

If a Village sells domestic animals to another Village, then draw a
corridor of the appropriate type between those villages.

Now start your three flu strains moving! Move each flu strain along all
appropriate corridors it finds, trying to infect as many populations as you can.

For example, the Avian Flu Strain emerges from the Avian reservoir and moves down Avian corridors to any village that successfully hunted ducks. The Swine Flu Strain emerges from the Swine Reservoir and moves down Swine corridors to any village that successfully hunted boar. The Human Flu Strain enters the Hotel if it has guests this year (tourists bring flu to the island) and moves down any corridors created by villagers working at the Hotel.

If there is a suitable population at the end of the corridor, now see if you can infect it!
For example, if a Swine Flu strain moves down a corridor to a village that has domestic pigs,
then you would try to infect that pig population with Swine Flu. (If there are no pigs, then that corridor is a dead end.)

To see if a flu strain infects a population at the other end of a corridor, draw a card from the Transmission Deck. If it is black, the flu is successfully transmitted into that population. If it is red, it is not. Draw a card from the deck for each attempt to enter a new population (do not reshuffle the deck).

If you do infect that population, you can follow any additional corridors that lead onward from that population. For example, let's say Village A sent workers to the Hotel, and Village B traded with Village A. The Human Flu strain that comes into the Hotel would move down the corridor that the workers created between the Hotel and Village A. You draw a card from the Transmission Deck, and it is black - so now the human population of Village A catches the flu. So now the human flu moves down the corridor created by the traders between Village A and B, and tries to enter the human population of Village B. You draw a card from the deck, and it is red. You are not successful at infecting the Village B humans - this corridor is a dead end (although you might get to Village B through some other corridor).

As you go, record which populations you infect (and with how many different strains). Each infected population will suffer some deaths, based on the virulence of each flu strain that infects it. You'll have to tell this to the village at the appropriate time (when the villages are figuring Births and Deaths).

You should move all the flu strains you can as far as they can go, and figure out which populations you infect successfully. Then it's time for Drift and Shift. This is an exciting time for the influenza virus!

"Drift" is when a flu strain evolves slightly - it may become more or less virulent. "Shift" is when a flu strain evolves enough to jump the interspecies barrier and move into a new animal population.

For each population you successfully infected, draw a Drift n' Shift card. If the card is black, there is no Drift or Shift. If it is an odd-numbered Red Card (5, 7, 9), then the flu strain has shifted and become more virulent (virulence rating +1). If it is an even-numbered Red Card (6, 8, 10), then the flu strain has shifted and become less virulent (virulence rating -1). Apply this new virulence to the flu's effect on this population and any populations "downstream" from this one.

If the card is a Red face card (K, Q, J) the flu strain has Shifted! You create a new flu strain in this population, which can try to spread along transmission routes all over again. If this population is in a village, the Curse can jump this new flu into a different animal population and also try to spread it out from there. This new flu strain has a virulence rating of +1 over the old strain. You draw a Drift and Shift card for each population infected by the new strain as usual.

If the card is a Red Ace, the flu strain has Shifted, as above, except the virulence rating of the new strain is +2 over the old strain.

All this may require careful bookkeeping. Take your time and do it carefully.
When you're done, you should be able to:

  • tell how many populations you infected
  • tell each village which populations were infected
    and what percentage of the population died.
    (If the population was infected by more than one
    strain,it may have two waves of deaths.)

Here's the virulence chart for flu.

flu virulence chart
(virulence rating in red):

-2 . . . . . 0% deaths
-1 . . . . . 1% deaths
0 . . . . . 2% deaths (the "normal" virulence of human flu)
+1 . . . . . 5% deaths (avian, swine flu; human flu on "alert" years)
+2 . . . . . 10% deaths (sometimes avian, swine flus start here)
+3 . . . . . 25% deaths
+4 . . . . . 98% deaths (eek!)

Check with your moderator to see what virulence
each of your flu strains starts with this year.

Q: How mysterious should you try to be?
How much do you give away to the villagers and hotel?

A: You should be as mysterious as possible.
You can tell them a disease strikes a population.
You can tell them the chickens sicken quickly and die.
You can tell them the pigs start coughing and die.
You can tell them that villagers get fever, cough, runny nose,
sicken and then pass away.

But try to let them figure out the identity of the Curse for themselves!